Category: All Things

More mundane matters

Tuesday, June 27th, 2006 | All Things

Back in New York City, and after my first full day of work, I took the subway home and promptly passed out, missing my film class. I awoke at 11:00pm, and then again at 4:00am and have been up ever since. So much for avoiding jet lag.

I did finish The History of Love, by Nicole Krauss, which I’d been meaning to read for a while and picked up on impulse at the Hong Kong International Airport on the way home on Sunday. Probably could have finished the book in transit, had I not slept through half of the trip.

Funny, sad and moving… though my reading may have been enhanced by my melancholy of late.

“Once upon a time there was a boy who loved a girl, and her laughter was a question he wanted to spend his whole life answering.” I like that.

Dinner party at RB’s in TriBeCa tonight — I’ve signed on to bring dessert. Had I planned better, I could have put my insomnia to use baking something appropriate, but as it is I’ll most likely just stop off on the way to pick up a fruit tart.

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In transit

Monday, June 26th, 2006 | All Things, Travel

Leaving HCMC: view of City Hall:

Saigon at night
Stopover at the Hong Kong International Airport. It began to pour about fifteen minutes after I took this photo — the beginning of what would become a pattern for the rest of the trip. From San Francisco, my flight was delayed and then rerouted through Canada due to “weather” in the Midwestern United States. Incidentally, never understood the use of the term “weather” without an adjective; isn’t there always weather?:

HKIA

Home sweet home: 2 stopovers and just under 30 hours after leaving my hotel room in Saigon. Whew.

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Good night, Saigon

Saturday, June 24th, 2006 | All Things, Travel

Final day in Vietnam. Loose ends…

Ben Thanh Market is one of Ho Chi Minh’s most popular shopping destinations, having been in existence since the French occupation, and in its current location since 1899.

Locals and tourist alike congregate at this market near the center of town, especially on the weekends. Larger and somewhat more sanitized than Chinatown’s Binh Tay Market, which I visited on my first day in Saigon.

Slippers

The market also features a pretty extensive food court with individual stands outfitted with plastic stools for customers — like an indoor collection of street food.

Food stall

Sinh To is the ubiquitous Vietnamese fruit shake. The word is actually a Chinese language import, meaning “vitamin;” “vitamin” in Vietnamese is “vitamin”.

Sinh To

Taxicab ride to the History Museum for the afternoon water puppet show:

Water puppets Water puppets

Puppetmasters take a bow:

Puppet performers

After the show, visited the museum’s other big draw: the Angkor Wat relics… um, Elgin Marbles, anyone?

Angkor Wat statues
Angkor Wat bas relief. As I won’t be making it out to Cambodia this trip, this small sampling will have to suffice for now.

bas relief

At the Jade Emperor Pagoda, built by the city’s Cantonese around the turn of the century:

Jade Emperor Pagoda

Jade Emperor Pagoda

Continued my leisurely stroll around District 1. On the way, I passed the site of the American Embassy, now the U.S. Consulate. According to the guidebook, it is not the original gate or building through which the Viet Cong broke through during the Tet Offensive in 1968. Security around the complex is extremely tight, though, with armed guards posted every 20 feet or so. In fact it was the one place in all of Vietnam that I was expressly forbidden — twice — from snapping a photograph, and that includes museums and several houses of worship.

This was the closest I could manage — the guards were out of my line of vision, behind the tree:

American Embassy
Though around the corner, I found one guard who was somewhat more obliging.
Guard

More street carts:

Food stand
How could I leave Vietnam without sampling a bowl of pho?
Pho

Just a few more hours before I leave for NYC. Sleep or pack?

Pack.

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